Elfquest Novel Sketches


SKETCHES – Part One

When the idea for an image springs vibrantly to mind, the urge is strong to sit right down at the drawing table and try to capture every detail, just as you see it in your mind’s eye. If you’re very good, and very very lucky, you might be able to pull the feat off, right out of the gate.

Most of the time, however, an idea wants some consideration, some massaging before it’s ready to be called "done." That’s what sketches (doodles, thumbnails, cartoons) are for. They provide you two important steps in the creative process. One, it’s far easier and quicker to jot down in rough form the important elements of your idea, before they evaporate from memory. Two, once you’ve roughed the idea onto a piece of paper, you can take your time to see how the composition might be improved. Perhaps the central figure wants to be larger than you originally thought, or maybe the building you "saw" off on the right side would actually look better on the left. It’s difficult (not to mention frustrating and heartbreaking) to discover you miscalculated an important part of your drawing when you’re three-quarters of the way into the finished image! The great thing about sketches is that you can do as many of them as you want until you settle upon just the right look, just as you want it… and then you can move on to tightening things up.

novel

What follows are a half-dozen of the illustrations that Wendy provided for the prose novelization of the first book in the Elfquest series, "Fire and Flight." If you’ve read the text, or even if you’re just familiar with the story from the graphic novel or the comic books, you’ll recognize these scenes. And yet, they’re not the same as the panel-to-panel continuities from the comics; they needed to be reworked to stand alone as single-image illustrations, that must fit on a certain size page.

As you can see, some of the illustrations even wanted more than one initial pencil sketch, to find that "just right" composition. Notice how free and loose the sketches are; this is not the stage for detail, but rather for blocking out who and what goes where. Then Wendy did a set of second, charcoal-pencil sketches – both to start to tighten up in the detail department, and also to get a sense of where areas of light and shadow would be. Finally, she set down the final drawings in pen and ink. Because she knew ahead of time where all the major elements would be, she could then concentrate on the finishing touches, textures and details.


(Click on each image for a larger version.)

Plate 1: "Redlance"
pencil

pencil sketch

charcoal

charcoal sketch

ink

finished ink

Plate 2: "Troll Cavern"
pencil

pencil sketch

charcoal

charcoal sketch

ink

finished ink

Plate 3: "The Lodestone’s Magic"
pencil

pencil sketch #1

pencil

pencil sketch #2

pencil

pencil sketch #3

charcoal

charcoal sketch

ink

finished ink

Plate 4: "Desert Trek"
pencil

pencil sketch

charcoal

charcoal sketch

ink

finished ink

Plate 5: "Recognition"
pencil

pencil sketch #1

pencil

pencil sketch #2

charcoal

charcoal sketch

ink

finished ink

Plate 6: "The Healing"
pencil

pencil sketch

charcoal

charcoal sketch

ink

finished ink

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